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Last Updated: Wednesday, 16 August 2006, 08:39 GMT 09:39 UK
Lower rail returns knock Balfour
Trains outside London
Balfour said progress on major rail contracts had accelerated
Profits have fallen at engineering and construction firm Balfour Beatty, following one-off costs and lower returns from its UK rail business.

The firm saw pre-tax, post-exceptional profits fall to 39m ($74m), from 67m, in the six months to the end of June.

Profits from the firm's UK's rail arm fell sharply as it completed less maintenance work for Network Rail.

Balfour Beatty said it was "positive" about current trading and had a healthy order book of future contracts.

'Clear strategy'

The value of future contracts rose to 8.8bn in the first half of 2006, thanks to road projects in the UK, US and Dubai and construction schemes in Hong Kong.

Excluding one-off costs of 21m, Balfour Beatty's pre-tax profits rose 13% to 60m.

Trading prospects in our key sectors remain positive
Ian Tyler, Balfour Beatty chief executive

Rail profits fell by 9m to 11m, reflecting Network Rail's decision to bring maintenance in-house last year.

But work to upgrade tracks on the London Underground and to build rail links to the new Terminal 5 at Heathrow had accelerated, it said.

Profits from construction, facilities management and civil engineering projects rose strongly over the period.

"Trading prospects in our key sectors remain positive," said chief executive Ian Tyler.

"Our strategy for the future growth and development of our business is clear."


SEE ALSO
Record orders fuel Balfour Beatty
08 Mar 06 |  Business

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